A Gillingham-based ophthalmology consultant is advising people to take better care of their eyes as part of National Eye Health Week (24-30 September).
Mrs Mahboub Hawkes, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Will Adams NHS Treatment Centre, said: “Our sight is precious, but so often we take the day-to-day health of our eyes for granted.
“There are a number of small, simple steps we can take to maintain our eye health and reduce the likelihood of several common problems that could damage our sight.”
Mr Hawkes’s eye health tips:
- Stop smoking – studies have shown smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration(AMD), cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Community pharmacists and GP surgeries will be able to give advice on how to quit and make it stick;
- Wear sunglasses – sun damage can lead to clouding of the lenses known as cataracts. Buy a pair that gives 100% ultraviolet protection. If you wear glasses, consider reactive lenses that change with the light;
- Get regular eye examinations – check-ups with your high street optician can reveal not only the need for a new glasses prescription but also problems such as glaucoma and wet AMD, both of which benefit from rapid treatment after diagnosis;
- Get friendly with fish – oily fish, such as salmon and tuna, contain omega 3, which provides structural support to cell membranes and may be beneficial for dry eyes. Research has shown that eating just one portion of fish a week may reduce the risk of developing sight-stealing AMD;
- Eat a rainbow diet – different coloured fruit and vegetables contain different anti-oxidants that help the body to fight disease and inflammation. The bright colours in foods, such as blueberries, spinach, peas and papayas, can fight free radicals and play a part in combating the damage caused by sun exposure;
- Go to work on an egg – they are packed full of eye-health nutrients, including sulphur, which may protect the lens from cataracts. Try teaming it with wholemeal toast, as wholegrains also contribute to eye health.
- The eye and computers—a frequent blinking stops the eyes from feeling tired and gritty from inadequate wetting of the eye while attaching an anti-glare screen to the front of the monitor.
She said: “These are easy, small steps but ones that maximise the chance of you keeping your eyes in tip-top condition throughout your life.”
To learn more about the ophthalmology services at Will Adams NHS Treatment Centre call 0333 200 4055 or visit willadamstreatmentcentre.nhs.uk.